Culture

Traditional Christmas Latino Meals And The History Behind Them

Latinos have played an pivotal role in American cuisine since the very beginning. But the wealth and complexity of Latin food traditions goes far beyond Taco Tuesdays and happy hour margaritas. Each Latin American country boasts its own unique  flavors, and while several of the same dishes exist in different forms throughout North, South, and Central America, each culture’s recipes are distinctly its own. The real beauty about Latin cuisine in the US is that these distinct cultural identities all have their place in our country’s vast gastronomic canon, maintaining their original shape while also merging into a stunning mezcla of vibrant new culinary customs.

While family tradition is super important in the Latino kitchen—with recipes being passed down from generation to generation—many old school dishes are being adapted in lieu of modern culinary trends.

And this makes sense. From food to music to fashion, cultural exchange is how new innovations and creative ideas come to life. But it is especially common in the realm of cuisine—we need food to survive, after all, and we are always seeking new ways to make this basic necessity a bit more interesting and enjoyable. In places like the US, where countless cultures coexist and overlap, it’s inevitable that different culinary traditions would borrow from each other and coalesce to make something totally fresh and distinct.

So what are some of the most classic Latino food traditions? How have they morphed and changed over time? And how have they stayed the same?

Tamales

Credit: Pinterest

Tamales are a quintessential dish in many Latin American countries, though they differ from place to place. Yet the tradition of preparing tamales communally and collaboratively stands the test of both time and geography, as it is so often a group effort guided by la abuela’s magical, age-old tamale skills. With ancient Mesoamerican origins, the tamale will always be the root of blossoming Latinx cuisine—there’s nothing like the smell of steam rising from the tamalera and filling la cocina with goodness. They are the ultimate comfort food, and they’ve maintained their integrity, as they are too classic to change in any major sense. And the best way to eat tamales? With a steamy cup of champurrado in hand.

Guacamole

Credit: Pinterest

Guacamole is a beloved concoction all over the world, though it originated in South Central Mexico several thousand years ago. Over time, it evolved from a prized Aztec dish to a ubiquitous and highly coveted snack that—in the US, anyway—spikes in popularity during certain events, like the Superbowl. Because of its simplicity, guacamole serves as a canvas for culinary creativity, with several different incarnations since its original blend of avocados, herbs, and spices. With guacamole, there opportunities to experiment are truly endless.

Micheladas

Credit: Pinterest

The michelada has also evolved into a canvas of sorts, inviting people to create elaborate versions of this classic Mexican drink. Similar to the popular Bloody Mary, micheladas can sometimes serve as a whole meal, with entire salads floating atop the base of spicy, salty beer. Often, different types of mariscos are added, from shrimp to crab legs to octopus to oysters. Sometimes the michelada is adorned with varias frutas, like watermelon, pineapple, or blackberries. And occasionally, micheladas llevan all of the above! Like guacamole, the possibilities son infinitos.

Ceviche

Credit: Pinterest

Some version of ceviche is made all over Latin America, but it is widely believed to originate in Peru—it is certainly synonymous with Peruvian cuisine, and is considered a national Peruvian dish. Its defining feature is some type of raw fish that is cured by citrus juices, then spiced with various seasonings. In Costa Rica, the featured fish is typically tilapia or corvina, although mahi-mahi, shark and marlin are also commonly used. In Mexico and some parts of Central America, it is often served with tostadas. El Salvador and Nicaragua produce a version called ceviche de concha negra, which is dark in color and quite picante. And in the United States, its renditions are just as diverse, highlighting everything from shrimp to scallops to octopus.

Maiz (En Todas Sus Formas)

Credit: Pinterest

We’ve already mentioned tamales and champurrado, but corn is such a widespread culinary staple throughout Latin America, that it had to be repeated. Not only does corn form tortillas and masa, which are the base for a wide variety of different snacks and dishes (tacos, tostadas, tamales, etc.), but corn also appears in ancient drinks like Peruvian chicha and atole from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. It’s the highlight of that fantastic Mexican street snack, elote (btw, if you’ve never had elote helado, está buení simo and you need to find some ASAP). Latin American food would be a totally different beast without corn, so we’ve got to sing its praises!

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A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Culture

A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Social media is where people can show off just about anything they create. This includes art in any and all media, like pancake art. Claudia, the creator behind Nappan Pancake art, is the latest artist watching their art reach the masses.

Claudia, the artist behind Nappan Pancake art, got her start because of the pandemic.

The artist first started to play around with pancake art last spring break when the pandemic forced businesses and schools to close. Claudia wanted to get more creative with her kids’ breakfasts since they were now always at home.

“I started experimenting with making Pancake art,” Claudia recalls to mitú. “At first I only used the color of the natural dough and a little cocoa. At first, I just used the ketchup dispensers and little by little I learned.”

Claudia uses her pancake art to honor some truly iconic people.

@nappancakes

Responder a @detodoun_poco233 Cepillín ✨🥞✨ en nuestros ♥️ #parati #fy #HijosAdopTiktoks #adoptiktoks #viral #foryou @cepillintv #pancakeart ncakeart

♬ La Feria de Cepillin – Cepillín

Cepillín recently died and the loss was felt throughout the community. He made our lives joyous and fun with his music, especially his birthday song. Some of the creations are done for fans who request to see their faves turned into delicious pancake art.

The artist loves creating the edible works of art.

The journey of becoming a pancake artist has been a fun adventure for Claudia and her children. The more she has practiced, the more she has been able to do.

“Sometimes I scream with excitement and I go to all the members of my house to see it,” Claudia says about her successes. “Other times it’s just a feeling like “disappointment could be better” other times it just breaks or burns and then I just cry but it usually feels very satisfying.”

You can check out all of her creations on TikTok.

@nappancakes

Responder a @reyna100804santoyo siii🥞✨ díganle que me adopte 🥺 @ederbez #adoptiktoks #hijosadoptiktoks #parati #foryou #viral #fy #art #pancakeart

♬ Little Bitty Pretty One – Thurston Harris

With 350,000 followers and growing, it won’t be long until more people start to fully enjoy Claudia’s art. Her children can’t get enough of it and she is so excited to share it with the rest of the world.

READ: Spicy Food Lovers Have Reason To Celebrate As New Study Says Eating Chilies Could Be Secret To Longevity

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Viral Video Of Overworked Texas Dominos Workers Burdened By Snow Storm Goes Viral

Things That Matter

Viral Video Of Overworked Texas Dominos Workers Burdened By Snow Storm Goes Viral

Texas’s current power crisis from a devastating storm has disrupted power generation and frozen natural gas pipelines. The is historic storm has driven electric demand higher than the state has ever seen, but it’s not just electric energy being overextended as a result. It’s physical and mental human energy as well.

Recently, an image of two exhausted Domino’s Pizza workers went viral for showing the extreme exhaustion workers are experiencing.

In a post shared to News4sanantonio.com’s Chime In page a user by the name of July DeLuna explained “This Dominos in San Antonio. Working during this crisis. They had a weekend worth of food and it was gone within 4 hours. This team helped those that needed help. These are the essential workers that need recognition. They were the only pizza place open. Every pizza place was closed but dominos stayed open to help those in need.”

Little else is known about the exhausted workers in the viral image but it did rack up over 8K comments within hours of being posted.

“Dominoes better pay them for the shifts they’ll miss while they don’t have any ingredients. With this practical free advertising it’s the least they could do. Otherwise these kind people worked themselves out of already bad hourly pay,” one user commented.

“,As someone who works in the food service industry, the thought of selling out of all product in only four hours and how much work goes in to preparing that much food is unfathomable levels of nightmare fuel,” another noted.

In another response to the image, a Reddit user wrote “I cannot express to you how upsetting it is to be the only food source open during hard times, to still be open and show up to do your job with higher than normal levels of orders, and still get yelled at by management for not having orders out within a window of time.”

Images of overworked and stressed is nothing new of course.

Fast-food workers are often burdened by their field’s daily challenges. In 2020, food industry workers are being forced to endure customer abuse at even higher rates. Last year a TikTok video of a Subway restaurant falling asleep while in the middle of making a sandwich went viral.

“This is actually really sad. I can’t imagine how underslept she is. Not to mention the wage people get paid at Subway… She deserves better,” one TikTok user by the name of Monique Emilia commented at the time. The skincare influencer Hyram also commented writing “Poor thing… Can’t imagine how underslept she is, we’re too hard on service workers.”

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